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Sisters Brothers, The


Stars: John C Reilly, Joaquin Phoenix, Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Allison Tolman, Rutger Hauer, Carol Kane, Rebecca Root

Director: Jacques Audiard

Probably the sort of western you'd expect a French director to make, all brown and yellow daytime shots with sunlight flashing off the camera, and (a lot of) nighttime scenes where you can scarcely see what's going on. There's also a pace that varies from leisurely to frantic.

The Sisters brothers are pre-Civil War bounty hunters in 1851 Oregon. Charlie (Phoenix) is the shorter, good-looking, alcoholic, womanising one, while Eli (Reilly) is the hulking, ugly one, forever clutching a red shawl which, like Linus' blanket in Peanuts, brings back memories of a lost love.

And they are deadly (so, all too often, is their film, though not in a good way). Fresh up from emerging unscathed after gunning down seven desperadoes (though they save horses from a blazing stable), they're ordered by their boss, The Commodore (Hauer), to track down Warm (Ahmed, looking here like old-time villain Zachary Scott), who has invented a liquid that can show up gold in a river bed.

Also on Warm's trail is John Morris (Gyllenhaal), whose task is to hand over Warm to the Sisters: all very strange, a bit like this film, which has too few interesting characters, unlike the best-selling book on which it's based.

David Quinlan

France/USA/Spain 2018. UK Distributor: Universal. Colour (unspecified).
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 31 Mar 2019